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Weekend Elephant #2 The Result!

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Monday, 18 July 2011

Weekend Elephant #2 The Result!

The first person to correctly locate last week's Weekend Elephant was the keen-eyed Vania from Stanmore, many congratulations this was a tough one!


This elephant was especially hard to find as it is located inside the lobby of the former Express Building at 120 Fleet Street. The building is now occupied by Goldman Sachs who do not only normally grant public access and I don't normally feature elephants that require special permissions to view. There is a reason for this week's exception. It is normally possible to visit the lobby during Open House Weekend (17th & 18th September) and the full guide to this highlight of every London enthusiast's year is soon to be published.

So this elephant is a memory jogger for Open House regulars to order the guide and start planning, and a strong recommendation for those yet to participate to buy the guide and drool over the 700+ properties that will be open this year, all completely free!

The Asian elephant is featured in one of two panels of gilded and silvered plaster reliefs by Eric Aumonier. The Aumonier reliefs in the lobby form part one of the finest Art Deco interiors in Britain, the whole being designed by Robert Atkinson in 1932.

Eric Aumonier (1899–1974)   is an often overlooked sculptor. Together with contemporaries such as Eric Gill, Henry Moore and Jacob Epstein he too worked on external sculptures at Charles Holden's 55 Broadway. Unfortunately Aumonier's work can't be seen from street level so his contribution is often ignored.  There are pictures of his hidden South Wind  from the excellent Ornamental Passions though.

Aumonier did contribute one highly visible statue to London, his famous Archer at East Finchley station, another collaboration with Holden.

There is some more information on the sculptor, some pictures of the panels and of his Archer statue here.

The author of this blog is a qualified City of Westminster Tour Guide who runs unique walking tours throughout Westminster, see tabs for details.

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